Telford lorry driver says fatal M25 smash was his first ever crash
A Shropshire lorry driver involved in a fatal crash when a car ran out of fuel has told a jury that the incident was his first ever crash.
Anthony Cheshire, known as Tony, from Telford, was a company sergeant major in the British Army, before he left and began driving HGVs, Chelmsford Crown Court heard.
He set up his own freight company, called TC Reme Ltd - linked to his days in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers - in 1994 and had regularly driven in Europe. At the time of the crash on March 29, 2016, he was working locally for Joyce European Logistics, run by Andy Joyce, driving one of his trucks.
His Scania, carrying a trailer of chilled produce for the supermarket Lidl, was bound for its distribution depot in Northfleet,Kent.
However, the lorry struck the rear offside of a Nissan Note stationary on an unlit section of the clockwise M25 between junctions 26 and 27 at 2am, where there was no hard shoulder.
Car driver Tammy Langton is alleged to have known she would run out of fuel before she set off from Leicester to return to London and is on trial alongside Cheshire.
Cheshire, 63, of Reynards Coppice, Sutton Hill, Telford, and Langton, 32, of Melthorpe Gardens, Blackheath, south east London, both deny causing the death of Laura Cooper, 35 by dangerous or careless driving.
In addition, both deny causing serious injury to front seat passenger Yasmin Fry, then 17, by dangerous driving.
Cheshire further denies causing serious injury by dangerous driving to Tammy Langton.
Langton also pleads not guilty to causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drugs by driving when she was unfit through drugs, or by having in her body an amount of cannabis which exceeded the specified limit.
Cheshire's police interview was read to the jury. In it he said he worked nights and his regular runs were to Northfleet and Dunstable.
He explained how he thought he was behind another articulated vehicle going very slowly and was thinking about pulling out to pass it when "I saw some movement".
"As I was thinking all this, bang, there's a car there. I don't even know if it had lights on. It was all black and I don't know whether the car was moving or stationary."
He said he didn't think he was "that close".
He continued : "I question myself and have done all day. I have been thinking why I didn't see the car. Was I too close to the truck or the truck blocked my view? Was the car unlit?
"I have asked myself all these questions but I have not really got the answer."
He added: "I have asked myself a million times about why I have no warning of seeing this car."
"I just know when I saw it was 'Oh no'."
The prosecution claim Cheshire's artic was "on top" of the Nissan.
The jury has heard that from cctv cameras on the M25 that Cheshire had a clear view for about 300m. "CCTV evidence doesn't show any other lorry or vehicle in front of him obstructing his view. He had a clear view for a long period of time," said prosecutor Mark Halsey in opening the trial.
After the collision, Cheshire said he pulled up and began walking back.
He said : "I saw lights coming up the hill and it was all silhouetted with debris from the car. One of the doors was open and this girl was lying in front of the car. She was moaning and screaming and saying 'What have I hit?'
"I said to her 'I think somebody has hit you. Don't worry about it."
Cheshire said he attended to that girl, dressed in combats. Other motorists had stopped.
He said his vehicle was on cruise control and doing 56mph.
Asked by the officer if he had any issues on his mind, Cheshire replied: "I was relaxed. It's a road I know. I was just saying to my wife yesterday about how content in my life I am at the moment and I was dreading someone bursting the bubble."
The trial continues.